By Sneha Nair

The term “pro-choice” sees its roots in the years post the historic Roe V. Wade decision in the United States that constitutionally protected a pregnant woman's freedom to choose to have an abortion without too many government restrictions. The pro-choice advocates adopted the term to emphasize on the woman’s right to choose. People in the this movement believe that women should have control over their reproductive lives as a legal fact and fundamental right, and that abortion should be available to all women...

But what does being “pro-choice” mean? Let’s explore a few shared attributes and values that all pro-choice advocates stand for -

When you’re pro-choice, you believe that complete autonomy over your own body is a matter of human rights

This means that you recognise that abortions are a key factor of health care and health service which women need access to - because abortions IS health care. And denying access to health care is a violation of human rights. Criminalizing abortions, adding excessive legal barriers and obstacles to the process only adds to the stigma that surrounds it. Abortion rights and quality reproductive care is needed to guarantee the protection and right to health, privacy, information for all women and girls.

You put science and facts before myths and falsehoods

You’ve done your research and have found credible information that clearly states the effectiveness of safe abortion practices. The anti-abortion lobbyists use fear-based tactics which have zero scientific evidence or backing. Make sure that you always trust resources that only provide you facts, not opinions. Because your health is the most important and should be trusted with only those who also put your health first.

You understand that the condition of unintended pregnancy should not be an obligation to motherhood

Motherhood is a choice. Being pro-choice means that you see women as equal members of society - members who, like others, must also have agency around when, with whom and how they wish to start a family. An unintended pregnancy, no matter what the circumstances, should not result in enforced parenthood. Because when one imagines a modern, just, equal society, we include laws that allow women to manage their own fertility and is based on the belief that every child deserves to be wanted and cared for.

You care about the economic wellbeing of you and your family

You understand that there’s a very strong connection between a woman’s access to quality sexualc care, reproductive care and her ability to attain her economic aspirations. If she’s given the freedom to choose without having to fight legal and/or moral barriers, she’s in a better position to design a future that’s best for her and her family.

You respect and uphold the value of the individual

The right to choose is, in essence, respecting and valuing the individual. How, when, with whom to start a family, the path to becoming a mother for the first time or the seventh time, whether you decide on becoming a parent now, later or never - the choice to make that decision for yourself is crucial in understanding one’s own identity. When you’re pro-choice, you uphold this right to choose on par with respecting the value of a person and their ability to decide for themselves.

You oppose laws that ban people from getting access to full reproductive care

Banning abortions or adding legal barriers to abortion access does not stop abortions - in fact, it only makes them unsafe and dangerous. Unsafe methods of abortions are often seen more in regions with restrictive abortion laws. A pro-choicer opposed any and all government interference that fails its own citizens and refuses to see the facts and statistics- Abortions are normal, common and life-saving.

When you’re pro-choice, you do not accept the interference of morality or religion to cloud your understanding

When religion and morality drive the policies that guard abortion access, women bear the consequence. Let’s look at Ireland as a case study. Irish voters’ willingness to modernize abortion laws against Catholic teaching reflects a reality that my research lays bare: Reproductive health policies based on ideology rather than scientific evidence fail to serve the public.{1}

When you’re pro-choice, you’re pro-life

People who call themselves “pro-life” are solely concerned with the life of a fertilized egg, failing to see and value the life of the person experiencing the unintended pregnancy. You believe in the value of life and the human right to decide what’s best for your life, your future and your health.

Pro-choice is Pro-life.

A note from HowToUse -

To be more clear and precise in our communications, we at HowToUse say “pro-abortion”/”pro-reprodutive rights” or “anti-abortion” to describe people’s beliefs on abortion access.

Author’s bio
Sneha Nair is the Global Communications Officer at howtouseabortionpill.org. She lives in Mumbai with her four house plants.